Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nasty Cellar Reno

I'm back from a two year long hiatus. I've been busy with my 9 to 5, night job, and the birth of my first child. Although I haven't been writing I've still been Renovating on the Cheap.

The cellar at Halsey Street was the ugliest, nastiest, mustiest cellar I've ever seen. It was cut up into four rooms. We think the previous owner probably had people living down there.

I spent two years planning how I could make this cellar usable. Prior to the demo I couldn't stand going down there. Everytime I did, I felt like puking.

The previous owners made it into some kind of a drug den or boom boom room. They added cinder block walls which divided the cellar into four rooms. This included a bathroom and a boiler room. One of the rooms was carpeted.

The cellar was dark and there were exposed wires and bx cables hanging from the ceiling. The walls were covered with sheetrock, which took away a few feet from the width.

Once we removed all the cinder block partitions, the fire proof door at the bottom of the stairs; the cellar looked much better. It still looked dingy and small.

To make the cellar look more spacious we painted the walls bright white and the sewer lines a glossy black.

We desposed of over 250 bags of rubble while doing this job.

-Demolish the cinder block walls.
-Remove sheetrock from walls
-Remove illegal bathroom
-Paint walls, sewer and gas lines
-Sheetrock and plaster ceilings
-Remove exposed electrical wires and bring them up to code.

Tools Used:
-Crow bar
-Saw Zaw

-5 Gallon drum of primer
-5 Gallon drum of white paint
-Two gallons of black paint

Cost: $1500

Time: One week

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fabulous Refab

It had been bothering me for a while that the stained glass windows on this house could only be seen from the outside. The previous owners wanted to put a circular curtain rod in, and they decided to cover the windows with sheetrock, and bring the windows down. Terrible. I couldn't quite figure out whether the windows were intact on the side that was inside the house, but I had to try. Hey, you never know.

Unfortunately, by knocking down the wall, I created two new jobs for myself. One, I had to strip the wood mouldings and two, I had to rebuild the mouldings that were missing. I kept thinking, How the hell would I go about doing this? The easiest thing to do would have been to replace the original mouldings with stuff from Home Depot. But I decided to go to Dykes Lumber and refabricate the missing mouldings. Since lumber yards no longer make these mouldings, we had to replicate them as best as possible using 3 or 4 different mouldings.
The finished product? Priceless.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sterling Street Stoop Sale: Saturday July 19th

The Sterling Street-100 Block Association is having a multiple home stoop sale this Saturday, July 19th from 10AM to 3PM.

The stoop sale will be on Sterling Street between Bedford and Rogers Avenues in Prospect-Lefferts Garden. Proceeds will go towards funding their first annual block party.

Visit their stoop sale and see what treasures you may find. Furniture, Clothing, books, bric-a-bracs, etc. Hope you all can make it.

Please click here or on picture to view flyer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Condos Come to PLG

Formerly an abandoned building, 411 Rogers Avenue in Prospect-Lefferts Garden has been turned into a six-unit condo building. When I spoke to Alyssa Morris, a Corcoran agent, she said that only three of the six units were available for showing.

For $375, 000 (common charge: $269), you can get Unit 2, a two bedroom, one bathroom duplex with access to your half of the manicured private garden. Unit 4, a two bedroom, is going for $350,000 (common charge: $227). Unit 6, a 2 bedroom, is going for $365,000 (common charge: $269) and includes access to the roof deck.

According to Corcoran's website, "There are six new residential homes set up as duplexes with private gardens for entertaining and outdoor leisure, as well as 2-bedroom floor-through apartments-- some with private roof decks for those ring-side firework views."

When I visited 411 Rogers Avenue last weekend, I saw two duplex apartments that share the backyard. The first level of the duplexes is in the cellar, which is small and kind of cramped. The other four apartments are relaid single units. Also, don't get your hopes up about the roof deck. The roof deck is just an asphalt roof that is not fit to walk on. From the roof you have a nice view of a huge tree in my backyard; so much for seeing fireworks. But with the right plants, and some railings for those evenings you have a couple too many beers with your friends, it could be a cool chill-out space.

Still, in today's market, these units are reasonably priced. The common charges are almost too good to be true. I’d definitely negotiate them down on the asking price of the condo, because there are a few things that will need work.

In general, I thought the rehab was a bit shoddy and they really didn't put too much money into the bathroom or kitchen materials. There was another downside too--the duplexes have one bathroom. Anyway, I'm sure that to someone looking to buy the pros will outweigh the cons. The building is in a great location--just a block and a half from the 2 and 5 trains, and two blocks from Prospect Park and the Botanical Gardens.

Related articles:
1) Condo Conversion on Rogers Ave.
2) Corcoran's listing for 411 Rogers Ave.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Repair Rather Than Replace

In an article called Little Ways to Save Big on a Remodel, This Old House Magazine writer Alexandra Bandon gave 10 tips to save money on a remodel. These are the 10 principles I've been guided by during my 5 years of DIY renovations. One can save thousands of dollars if these tips are followed safely. Read more-->

1. Repair Rather Than Replace
2. Roll Up Your Sleeves
3. Limit Demolition
4. Rob Peter to Pay Paul
5. Use Luxuries Selectively
6. Adjust To Your Circumstances
7. Add Detail With Paint
8. Stick With Stock
9. Be Open To Open Shelves And Doors
10. Reuse Existing Materials